Freshmen host Giving Tree

December 11, 2017 — by Muthu Palaniappan and Jeffrey Xu

Dozens of students brought gifts for the charitable effort.

Hanging from the large Christmas tree in the main office in recent weeks have been various wish cards specific gift requests as well as dozens of wrapped presents beneath.

This is no ordinary tree. In fact, the tree’s purpose is to allow students to drop off gifts for underprivileged children as a part of the Family Giving Tree drive, which took place from Nov. 20 to Dec. 8. It was run by the freshman class officers in conjunction with the organization Family Giving Tree.

The class officers marketed the event by taking advantage of the poster printer in the activities office. They put these posters up as advertisements around campus. In addition, they created a graphic that was published on Facebook.

According to freshman class vice president Katie Chen, the costs for gift requests ranged from about $10 to $30.

Chen participated in the drive by fulfilling the wish of a 3-year-old girl who wanted a winter coat.

“I wanted to donate because I wanted to help kids who are less fortunate than us and help make a child's Christmas a little better,” Chen said.

According to, one in every four children in the Bay Area lives below the poverty line, which at the federal level is defined as having an income of $30,750 for a family of four.

Schools in the Saratoga Union School District also joined Saratoga High in the Giving Tree program. This year, every elementary school along with Redwood Middle School joined in on the effort, taking 100 tags from Saratoga High and distributing them from their own Christmas trees.

“We were happy to include our local elementary schools and Redwood [Middle School] because it increases the amount of gifts we get and it also improves our community engagement,” ASB president Nathon Chin said.

Freshman class treasurer Emily Choi said the most common gifts were usually toys and clothing, with toothbrushes required with every gift.

“Even a gift as simple as a toy could really help kids in need,” Choi said. “As fortunate students, we can all spare something to help make others’ Christmas special.”

The school’s on-site learning service coordinator Tim Gallaher believes that the Giving Tree is a great opportunity to be charitable at an important time of year.

In the end, the drive proved to be one of the most successful in history, in part due to the joint community effort. A total of 350 gifts were donated and were dropped off to the Family Giving Tree Warehouse in Sunnyvale on Dec. 11.

“This drive gives our school the opportunity to help families in need,” Gallaher said. “Our school can make a huge impact with just one gift, especially since there are so many families in need in the Santa Clara County.”


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